gay rights movement

or homosexual rights movement

Civil-rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals.

Supporters of gay rights seek to eliminate sodomy laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults and call for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, credit, lending, housing, marriage, adoption, public accommodations, and other areas of life. The first group to campaign publicly was founded in Berlin in 1897 by Magnus Hirschfeld (1868–1935) and had 25 local chapters in Europe by 1922; suppressed by the Nazis, it did not survive World War II. The first U.S. support group, the Mattachine Society, was founded in Los Angeles с 1950; the Daughters of Bilitis, for lesbians, was founded in San Francisco in 1955. The Dutch Association for the Integration of Homosexuality COC, founded as the COC (Cultuur en Ontspannings Centrum ["Culture and Recreation Center"]) in 1946 and headquartered in Amsterdam, is a prominent European group and the oldest existing gay rights organization. Many date the expansion of the modern gay rights movement to the Stonewall rebellion in New York City in 1969, when a raid by police on a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn provoked a riot by bar patrons. "Stonewall" came to be commemorated annually by the observance of Gay and Lesbian Pride Week in cities around the world. The International Lesbian and Gay Association (founded 1978), headquartered in Brussels, lobbies for human rights and opposes discrimination against homosexuals. Although the movement is strongest in western Europe and North America, gay rights organizations exist in many countries throughout the world. Among the major issues pressed by gay rights advocates in the 1990s and into the 21st century were the passage of hate crime laws and the establishment of legal rights for homosexuals to marry, adopt children, and serve openly in the military.

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also called  homosexual rights movement , or  gay liberation movement 

      civil-rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals; seeks to eliminate sodomy laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults; and calls for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, credit lending, housing, public accommodations, and other areas of life.

      Before the end of the 19th century there were scarcely any “movements” for gay rights. Once referred to as “the love that dare not speak its name” by Oscar Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred (“Bosie”) Douglas, homosexuality was given voice in 1897 with the founding of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee) in Berlin; it published emancipation literature, sponsored rallies, and campaigned for legal reform throughout Germany and in The Netherlands and Austria, developing some 25 local chapters by 1922. Its founder, Magnus Hirschfeld, helped sponsor the World League of Sexual Reform. In 1914 the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology was founded by Edward Carpenter (Carpenter, Edward) and Havelock Ellis (Ellis, Havelock) for both promotional and educational purposes.

      An increasing number of organizations were formed in the mid- to late-20th century. The Cultuur en Ontspannings Centrum (“Culture and Recreation Center”), or COC, was founded in 1946 in Amsterdam. In the United States, the first major male organization, founded in 1950–51, was the Mattachine Society (its name reputedly derived from a medieval French society of masked players, Société Mattachine, to represent the public “masking” of homosexuality), while the Daughters of Bilitis (named after the Sapphic love poems of Pierre Louÿs (Louÿs, Pierre), Chansons de Bilitis), founded by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco in 1955, was a leading group for women.

      The beginning of militant gay activism can be dated to the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village, was raided by the police. Nearly 400 people joined a riot that lasted 45 minutes and resumed on succeeding nights. Gay rights organizations proliferated in the United States in the succeeding years. “Stonewall” came to be commemorated annually in June by Gay and Lesbian Pride Week, not only in U.S. cities but in cities in several other countries.

      The International Lesbian and Gay Association was founded in Coventry, England, in 1978. Now headquartered in Brussels, it lobbies for human rights and fights discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons.

Additional Reading
Barry D. Adam, The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement (1987), begins with conditions in the medieval world and includes evidence from around the world. John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States (1983), focuses on the period before the Stonewall riots. Margaret Cruikshank, The Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movement (1992), analyzes the successes and failures of modern activism.

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Universalium. 2010.

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